Your brand is arguably your business’s most valuable asset so planning a successful branding project needs careful thought and consideration, as well as some careful asset-protection of your brand. Your brand defines your organisation’s reputation and visibility in the market – both online and offline. The strength of your brand is also measured by the impact it has on your target audience and is fundamental to digital marketing campaigns, supporting the SEO health of a website and the social media impact. Quite simply, your business will grow quicker and easier with a strong, well-defined brand.
Every branding project requires careful planning and implementation. But, when it comes to such intangible concepts, knowing where to start and what to do can be confusing. Here are the steps you need to take to accomplish these tasks.
Take Your Overall Business Strategy Into Account
The best place to start planning your branding project is your overall business strategy. It will serve as the context for your brand development. What kind of company do you want? Do you plan to grow organically? Your brand will help you take your company where you want to take it—as long as you clearly define the destination.
Identify Your Target Audience
If you claim “everyone” is your target audience, you’re making a huge mistake. For a successful brand development strategy, you need to define your target audience clearly. The narrower your focus is, the better.
When defining your target audience, focus on your ideal client or customer. What is their perspective? What are their priorities? What are their wants and needs? What language resonates with them the most?
Define Your Brand Mission
You need to have a mission statement and a vision statement. They will guide your branding project. Essentially, they are the purpose of your brand and your deeper connection with your target audience.
Moreover, your brand is so important because it is the face of your business, whether that’s a start-up, small growing business or a well-established company. It embodies the personality and the values of your business, as well as everything in between. You must know “what” and “who” you are.
Why have you started your business? The way you communicate your brand should reflect your mission. Your mission should permeate your messaging, your tagline, your logo, and your typography.
Find out who your competitors are and what they are offering. What makes your organisation different? When you are planning your branding project, you need to focus on that difference. What makes your offerings better than theirs?
Once you are done analyzing and researching the competition, you can determine your brand positioning. You need a positioning statement consisting of 3 to 5 sentences that capture the essence of your brand positioning. It should explain the benefits of your brand.
To ensure your branding will be consistent, you will use your positioning statement as a reference throughout your project. Because of this, it is important for it to be grounded in reality.
Your brand will suffer if you promise things you can’t deliver. But, so that you’ll have something to strive for, it should also be a bit aspirational.
Develop Your Messaging Strategy
Your target audience consists of your prospective clients, customers, partners, employees, influencers, and so on. Each audience is interested in different aspects of your brand positioning.
Your brand positioning will always be the same for everyone, but the messaging can be different. Depending on the audience, the message will emphasize the points that are most relevant to them. To address the needs of all members of your target audience, you need a messaging strategy.
Develop Your Name, Logo, and Tagline
Before you start implementing your branding project, you need to have the following elements:
- Name and tagline
- A distinct tone of voice
- Logo, brand typography, and brand colours
A change may be in order if some of these elements don’t suit your position—this goes for your name as well. Keep in mind that these elements are a part of your brand identity—they are not your brand. They only serve to symbolize and communicate your brand. To make it real, you must live it.
Ask the Right Questions
Begin your implementation plan with a few simple questions:
- What are the risks and implications of various rollout scenarios?
- What are your resource and time constraints?
- When rolling out your brand, which concerns will you need to address?
Determine Your Timeline
You need to determine when you will start sharing your message before you introduce your brand to your target audience. If your branding project is a part of a “rebranding campaign,” you need to update existing signage, outreach materials, marketing communications, and sales materials.
If you are launching a new brand, you need to create all of these elements from scratch. Determine what are all the touchpoints you need to create. Based on that, figure out a plan of action.
Plan Your “Need-to-Know” Sequence
After you identify all the internal and external audience members, including shareholders, partners, vendors, customers, employees, and the media, think about how you will introduce your brand to them.
As your internal audience will help you craft a more consistent rollout plan, they should come first. Work on finding how you can connect with each audience in your sequence. For example, you may decide to introduce your brand to prospective clients with a digital campaign, social media, and signage, but that may not be the best approach to take with your partners.
Work on Your Launch Plan
You need to tell the story of your brand in a way that engages the audience and clearly demonstrates its value. This will take the limelight off the competition and ensure your brand launch has a lasting impact.
Your launch plan should also include a marketing communication plan for the next few months following the rollout. It can include plans for social media posts, email announcements, and other steps for brand recognition and awareness.
Michael has been working in marketing for almost a decade and has worked with a huge range of clients, which has made him knowledgeable on many different subjects. He has recently rediscovered a passion for writing and hopes to make it a daily habit. You can read more of Michael’s work at Qeedle.